China: Smoking Capital of the World?


China, home to the world’s most enthusiastic smokers who smoke about two trillion cigarettes a year, according to the Chinese government…

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Although China is one of the most health conscious places in the world.. They kind of miss the mark when it comes to cigarette smoking.

As I spend more and more time around the Chinese people I learn more and more about eating healthier and excercise.  They always take time to walk after dinner and even with their very busy lives they always try to eat healthy and on a time schedule.   (yes) … They always eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner… at their respectable times.

Every meal is freshly made with the freshest ingredients.   They try to open the windows to always let fresh air flow through.  I am always warned not to eat too much of this or too much of that .. because it is not good for my health.

However, in the mist of all this healthy living… there is the  largest population of  smokers in the world.   I am thinking it is like it use to be in the USA before we had all these no smoking laws; if it is, I am so happy that we have those laws in place.

I am a non-smoker however, I do not judge anyone that wants to smoke I do not mind if you smoke as long as you are respectful of me.  Actually, my husband smokes…. (but that is another topic…(smile)).

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I have learned that it is customary when meeting someone or doing business to offer a cigarette to everyone.   Usually, the host offers first, but eventually, every man gets a chance to offer cigarettes as a form of respect.

In every business meeting, every dinner, every basic meeting of anyone.. you are to offer a cigarette.

I was informed that at a traditional Chinese wedding we must give packs of cigarettes to everyone as a gift for coming.  At Spring Festival or Chinese New Year to you and me, the most expensive cigarettes are purchased and given out as a kind of status symbol.

With so much emphasis on cigarettes of course you must have shops to sell these.  I can honestly say that on every single street there are at least 3 or more cigarette shops.   These cigarettes range from the cheapest of 10 rmb to as expensive as 200 rmb a pack.

They are imported like Marboro and domestic.  With so many types and brands of Cigarettes it is difficult to see how they know which ones are the best.  But as far as I can tell they go by price.  The ones that cost the most are the ones that are the best.   (go figure)

The one thing that did shock me was the fact that men seemed to shake their heads when they see a woman smoking.   They feel if a woman smokes she is sort of bad girl.   They would prefer a woman did not smoke.  I guess that lady like imagine is trashed if the beautiful girl has a cigarette hanging out of her mouth.

But when I asked some women what do they think about a man smoking… most were totally against it but understood that to be a “Man” especially a “Businessman” smoking must come into play.

When you want to know where these smokers can smoke… EVERYWHERE….. yes.. In  China people smoke everywhere… in offices, in shops, in cinemas, restaurants etc.   There are very, very few places you can go where there is no smoking allowed.

Makes you kind of understand why they always want the windows open inside every place you go.   You would die of smoke inhalation if you didn’t.

It really saddens me to think what kind of sicknesses will be occurring her in the future, and how the government will be able to deal with the rising health issues that smoking is going to cause.  With about half the world’s population living over here and more than half of them smoking it is a recipe for disaster.

So Listen up my fellow Americans… we may bitch about all the places where smoking is not allowed and how our rights are being taken away.  We may complain that the government should not tell us what is healthy and good for us.  We may hate to have someone telling us that they are looking out for our health… but you know…when you look at it from this side of the world… it is not so horrible to have a government that wants to take care of you.. and wants its people to be healthy and happy… is it?  I do not think so….

Ahhh… China… such a strong beautiful history of healthy living, healthy minds and healthy bodies…. all being thrown away with the ashes…

until next time…


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16 thoughts on “China: Smoking Capital of the World?

  1. Pingback: 2,000 people stop smoking every day in China, by dying... - Under construction

  2. Pingback: 2,000 people stop smoking every day in China, by dying… « ホセくん [ hoze・kən ] Josekun

  3. Avastacia

    i live with smokers; the smell, the ashes everywhere, yellowed teeth, nicotine stains on the walls, burn marks on sheets… i know what a disgusting habit it can be. i’ve lived with smokers all my life (friends and ‘family’), and hopefully i won’t suffer for that later on when i get older.

  4. This is a great post, Jo! I think smoking is one of my #1 pet peeves in China. My husband does not smoke either, and both of us have a very hard time when we go around China, and find these super smoggy restaurants. I’ve learned to avoid them by either opting for a restaurant w/ outdoor seating, or, when possible, getting a private room. Vegetarian restaurants are also a great option, b/c they normally do not allow smoking.

    Hangzhou just outlawed smoking in public places, but I am not sure if they’ve been successful at doing it in restaurants.

    The best times I have in China are at my inlaws’ home, though. Great, home-cooked Chinese food, and — no smoking!

    1. Sometimes.. I have to take a break and walk outside.. when there is too much smoking in the resturants… they do not ventilate very well. Now that it is getting warmer… I try to sit outside more often. In Hangzhou it is pretty good.. It fact that more foreigners go there helps. My inlaws… are heavy smokers.. so sometimes.. it is very hard to breathe.

  5. pearls

    I just know it will be a beautiful event! I’ll keep you both in my prayers for favor and special discounts.

    P.S. Oh! You just had to mention the wedding photographs! I am just entralled over the creativity of the Asian culture’s wedding photos that I’ve seen. They’re absolutely beautiful and some quite whimsical. I especially like the large photo of the couple in wedding attire hung on the wall of the livingroom/bedroom. Also, the smaller photos of them placed visibly throughout the home, instead of stuffing all of them in a photo album, hidden in a closet somewhere. My thinking is, that’s right, keep that special day ever before your eyes. So, sweet! Be Continually Blessed!

    1. Actually this is true… they do take a lot of photos… kind of like glamour shots… we will have ours done next month. We get 4 outfits…. and 22 photos in a very cool looking book. Plus two very large photos for the house. We took the small package because our apartment is a little small. You also get 44 photos on disk to keep. They do your hair, make up and supply all your clothes for you. So I can wear several gowns and traditional outfits. They also use photoshop to make you look even more beautiful.. like a model. I cant wait to post them all for everyone.

  6. hmmmm….. smoke is not good indeed. But in my country indonesia, smoking is become our topic this day. Cigarette is become our first income in tax, otherwise smoking can make our people unwealthy. So my university make a movement, a movement here called “Universitas Surabaya Kampus Hijau” Hijau mean Green, like Go Green statement! So my college is care about smoking, people who smoke can only smoke in some areas where there is a sign for smoking. My college Universitas Surabaya Make a place with 4 chair and around the chair grow up a medium green trees, that place is locate at a few point at my college. It was mean to reduce the pollution from people who smoking.
    check this out!

    Universitas Surabaya Kampus Hijau

  7. pearls

    I hope you will share some of your wedding banquet photos on your blog. As an Asian drama fan, I noticed that in some of the Chinese dramas that I’ve watched, sometimes the bride will incorporate both modern (western influence) and traditional (Chinese) cultures into her wedding trousseau. Changing her outfits 3-4 times during the wedding banquet.

    Also, while conducting a search on the web, one time I came across a prelude to a Chinese wedding banquet here in America on the west coast. It was so unique, sweet and beautiful. The groom went to make his greetings at the bride’s home to her relatives. After the greetings, when he was getting ready to accompany the bride, two of her bridesmaids wouldn’t let him see her unless he complied with their demands. They made the groom and his groomsmen form a single line and do push ups. It was funny and cute at the same. Also, the bride changed about 4 times. Incorporating the west/far east traditions in her attire. Needless to say, her outfits were simple, yet beautiful. Especially the red dress. Until……Peace!

    1. You are actually correct about the changing of dresses and the prelude to the banquet. Unfortunately we are going to have adjust some of that.. because one… my parents have passed on and my family lives in the states. Also it is quite expensive.. so I will have my wedding photos which i will have about 4 outfits.. but at the banquet I will only have two.. because usually the Chinese rent their dresses from shops but in my case because of my size i have to buy and have my dresses made. So it is more expensive.

  8. Yeah.. that kind of freaks me out too.. the Chinese live like forever….. must be an “ancient Chinese secret” I haven’t been told yet.. But as soon as I know it.. I am telling…. (smile)

  9. pearls

    Once again, another excellent featured article. How interesting. The cigarette manufacturers and importers are a mega business over there. The giving of cigarettes as a gift, in lieu of a regular gift, and among businessmen, as an addition to a business card exchange is really something. Your last statement is a profound oxymoron.

    I’m curious about something you mentioned. When you stated that at a traditional Chinese wedding you must give packs of cigarettes as gifts to everyone for coming. Are the cigarettes gifts to just the wedding party, or are the guests included in that gift giving, as well?

    1. In a traditional Chinese wedding.. all the guest bring you red envelopes with money in them and you should in return give ALL the guests gifts of cigarettes and candy. Which in could be extremely costly… since most weddings can have from 100 to 300 people. All these people also have to eat at the wedding in large tables filled with food. Where we will serve only 3 or 4 dishes to each person….the Chinese serve 20 or more dishes on each table and provide a lot of beer and wine for everyone to drink until their hearts content. This is usually held in a hotel or large resturant. All paid by the husbands family… however.. in my case.. all paid by my husband and I… that is why we have to wait unti October for our wedding banquet. Very, Very expensive… that doesnt include the photographer, flowers, the many expensive cars that need to be driven nor the dress or cake. Chinese weddings are quite an ordeal.

      1. Oh.. and I forgot to tell you .. all cigarette manufacturers are owned by the government. There is a very, very high tax the cigarette shop owners have to pay to the government also. You can form your own opinions about that bit of information. (smile)

  10. Ruth

    Wow, sounds like Okinawa. They smoke alot here too. they have the machines all over the place. I have seen young women smoke but not the older generation. I have never seen the kids get cigarettes from the machines though. But with all of the smoking how do they live so long? The Okinawans live LONG lives– most over 100 years old. I want to live long, but I won’t start smoking to do it. LOL I wish I could eat more healthy like them, and in small amounts– but in your words….that is another story. LOL

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